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So as I start planning out my next theater room (coming this Fall!), I'm wondering what the consensus is these days on 1080p vs 4K projectors.

Should I go with the trusty Sony 55ES (or something comparable), or one of the upcoming cheap-o (comparatively speaking) 4K projectors?

As most of you know, with TVs, many of the high quality 1080p sets blow away the cheap 4K sets. So while I guess it may seem like an obvious question, will it be the same way with projectors? It's been a while since I've been in the projector game (using Optomas and Epsons of various models in the past), so just looking for some updated guidance.
 

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That said (and good advice IMO), there's no such thing as a "cheapo" 4K projector, the cheapest 4K projector available today is the $10k Sony VPL-VW350ES, and it should be a much, much better machine than the HW55 (which is not "high end" anyway), but it's several times more expensive so that's to be expected.
 

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Anyone want to chime in on this now? there are a couple quasi 4k projectors and stuff... The JVC's come to mind as relatively inexpensive 4k capable projectors.

Through a government liquidation website I purchased a used Sanyo dht100l with a standard zoom lens for my coworking space. It's away being serviced and in the meantime I'm trying to put together a screening room as a perk for my members, and as a perk for myself.

I wonder if I have spent wisely or if in a couple months I'll be kicking myself.
 

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Anyone want to chime in on this now? there are a couple quasi 4k projectors and stuff... The JVC's come to mind as relatively inexpensive 4k capable projectors.

Through a government liquidation website I purchased a used Sanyo dht100l with a standard zoom lens for my coworking space. It's away being serviced and in the meantime I'm trying to put together a screening room as a perk for my members, and as a perk for myself.

I wonder if I have spent wisely or if in a couple months I'll be kicking myself.
The situation has remained the same. Unless you're willing to spend the money on the 600ES or 1100ES I'd avoid Sony's cheaper 4K offering. I don't think the 350ES is worth it's price. The contrast performance compared to similarly priced (and much lower priced) projectors is so far behind it's not even funny despite what many of the current owners will tell you. Not to sound like an ass, but I firmly believe many of them say the contrast performance is good because they want to feel just in their purchase. Or it could be something as simple as them not seeing any of the current offerings from JVC, Sony, Epson and others side by side with the 350ES. It will get destroyed by basically any $2000+ LCD/LCoS projector out there currently when it comes to on/off contrast. Sony should have hindered the 350ES in some other way. For a 2015 projector it truly is far behind the competition at far lower prices with only ~6500:1 contrast available to it. There are cheaper single chip DLPs that can outperform this.

I'd say either buy a JVC DLA-X500 or something similar or simply wait until CEDIA this fall. The market place will not change until CEDIA.
 

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So as I start planning out my next theater room (coming this Fall!), I'm wondering what the consensus is these days on 1080p vs 4K projectors.

Should I go with the trusty Sony 55ES (or something comparable), or one of the upcoming cheap-o (comparatively speaking) 4K projectors?

As most of you know, with TVs, many of the high quality 1080p sets blow away the cheap 4K sets. So while I guess it may seem like an obvious question, will it be the same way with projectors? It's been a while since I've been in the projector game (using Optomas and Epsons of various models in the past), so just looking for some updated guidance.
Sign me up for a cheapo 4k projector too LOL. I hope soon we will have cheaper projectors soon.
 

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Sign me up for a cheapo 4k projector too LOL. I hope soon we will have cheaper projectors soon.
While I expect to see more options this fall, I don't know if they will be cheapo. Of course cheapo to one is expensive to another. Hope to hear from you this fall. :)
 

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Whether you do it now or later in the Fall, ignore the ignorance and do your own research. Compare in person if you can. There are plenty of reviews on the "entry" level 4K projectors where they are compared to the best 1080p machines today. There are a few more European reviews on the VW300/500 than on the VW350/600 in the US (which are 100% the same models) so it is better to use "test" as opposed to "review" in your searches.
 

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Whether you do it now or later in the Fall, ignore the ignorance and do your own research. Compare in person if you can. There are plenty of reviews on the "entry" level 4K projectors where they are compared to the best 1080p machines today. There are a few more European reviews on the VW300/500 than on the VW350/600 in the US (which are 100% the same models) so it is better to use "test" as opposed to "review" in your searches.
There is almost no way the majority can compare projectors in person. There are very few who own projectors, so we have to go on opinions and comparisons from the few in this forum.
 

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There is almost no way the majority can compare projectors in person. There are very few who own projectors, so we have to go on opinions and comparisons from the few in this forum.
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Fair enough. This forum is a great source, just need to filter the occasional non-sense. What I am saying is that there are also many reviews and tests by various publications on the Internet that can be useful so that one can build a consensus on the current 4k PJs on their own and make a good decision. The more you read, the better you can filter bias one way or another. I went through that process just a few months back and it worked for me - no regrets.
 

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Fair enough. This forum is a great source, just need to filter the occasional non-sense. What I am saying is that there are also many reviews and tests by various publications on the Internet that can be useful so that one can build a consensus on the current 4k PJs on their own and make a good decision. The more you read, the better you can filter bias one way or another. I went through that process just a few months back and it worked for me - no regrets.
Did you get a chance to see an Epson laser unit or JVC against the 350ES in the same room with the two images next to one another before you purchased the 350ES? I was able to do this with a 600ES (I turned off the iris) next to an X500. Enabling eshift on the JVC (but leaving the MPC sharpening controls set to very low (10 out of 100) the two images yielded a very similar level of sharpness with 1080p blu-ray. The JVC is actually better at resolving pixels compared to the 350ES. The JVC actually looked a bit sharper to my eye on occasion. I really think this was the case because it just can't focus down on pixels like some other LCoS and DLP projectors can. Even with a 4K image sent to the projector (MadVR scaled 1080p bluray) the image looked a bit soft, visibly softer than my 1100ES, and I found the only way to remedy this was to enable reality creation. Other than the 1100ES this is a trend I've seen with the other Sony units I've had here (HW30ES and VW90ES). I just wish Sony could get the level of pixel sharpness I've seen on the Epson LS10000 and previous 3 and current generation JVC units. If they could just focus down better on the imager it would help their projectors quite a bit so one wouldn't need to use some sort of smart sharpening technique to get a competitively sharp image. The 1100ES is the only Sony unit I've seen that doesn't need this sort of help. One of the problems with reviews, when talking about 'sharpness', they often don't tell you what they have enabled on the projector. If RC is set high enough it can definitely look sharper than many of the projectors out there, but there are obvious side effects that come along with using this level of RC. I typically like to compare sharpness on a native level if I can and use as little as possible post-processing that adds in extra artificial sharpness.

Though, the 350ES is a bit better in terms of absolute brightness compared to the X500 and LS10000 so it can drive a larger screen (130"+ screen) and has a decent ANSI contrast ratio so combined with this brightness advantage the image can have a bit more 'pop', similar to a plasma TV, but in most other areas I thought the image on the JVC was better, especially when brightness matched (Sony had to be put in low lamp mode to do this since I didn't want to use the iris on the 600ES to influence things). Contrast is one of the most important image quality aspects and it's just that the Sony 350ES is quite handicapped when left with only native contrast available to it (6500:1). When JVC and Epson have huge advantages in this area anytime a movie or TV show got dark the Sony looks quite terrible by comparison (though it would look better on it's own as do most other projectors that lack decent on/off contrast). I think using a grey screen with the 350ES would be your best bet to help it's relatively pitiful black level. This is really the only area where the image is visibly lacking. But as I said, it's a very important image quality characteristic to be lacking in. From what I've seen, by 2015 standards, it's a ways behind the competition even compared to projectors that cost around $2000.

So YMMV and I highly suggest seeing this unit in person and making the decision personally if the contrast performance is enough for you. And if you can definitely SEE the competition, don't just read about it. Many review sites and publications down play weaknesses on purpose to remain on manufacturers' projector demo mailing list. No manufacturer appreciates net negative reviews. It's important to not be naive and realize this. Do you due diligence and read 'through' the review to get a feeling of what the reviewer really means. If you want an example of this, read any review of the Apple Watch. ;) I hear they're stricter than most when it comes to negative reviews and they won't hesitate at all to take you off of their demo mailing list for review samples.
 

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You saw what you saw and that is fine. Many others saw quite differently. So I am not making a conclusion for others here as they have to look for various sources. Two examples - the VW350 has higher native than the earlier VW600 with iris off. It is around 10,000:1 measured my me and others. Craig had the VW1100 and WV600 in one room for two months - side by side and saw no sharpness difference between the two (600 and 350 are equal there). You claim the opposite as you now have the VW1000, so one has to wonder about how you compared.


Most reviewers have said with no doubt the 4k Sony's have the most detailed 1080p picture and they mention the latest JVCs etc. At least two review compared with x700/x500 and gave the nod to the JVC for native CR only, all else goes to Sony. I know you report what you saw faithfully but I would not assume everyone else is lying as a result. If you see one car driving against the traffic in a one way street, who would assume is doing it right? Of course everyone is free to express their own opinion and draw their conclusions anyway they want.
 

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You saw what you saw and that is fine. Many others saw quite differently. So I am not making a conclusion for others here as they have to look for various sources. Two examples - the VW350 has higher native than the earlier VW600 with iris off. It is around 10,000:1 measured my me and others. Craig had the VW1100 and WV600 in one room for two months - side by side and saw no sharpness difference between the two (600 and 350 are equal there). You claim the opposite as you now have the VW1000, so one has to wonder about how you compared.


Most reviewers have said with no doubt the 4k Sony's have the most detailed 1080p picture and they mention the latest JVCs etc. At least two review compared with x700/x500 and gave the nod to the JVC for native CR only, all else goes to Sony. I know you report what you saw faithfully but I would not assume everyone else is lying as a result. If you see one car driving against the traffic in a one way street, who would assume is doing it right? Of course everyone is free to express their own opinion and draw their conclusions anyway they want.
What have I claimed the opposite about with the 1100ES? I said before that I liked the X500 more. The VW1100ES has it's strengths but it's no match whatsoever to the JVCs when it comes on/off contrast. It reminds me very much of a DLP image. This VW1100ES seems sharper to my eyes compared to the one I saw last fall and I think a lot of that is due to using it in reference mode vs cinema 1 mode which is brighter. I've had a lot more time to spend with it compared to the one I saw in the fall, but the X500 is not far behind in sharpness. Also, you haven't answered my question. Have you seen any of the other top LCoS models next to the 350ES? You're claiming some people's posts as "ignorant". I think it's important to give subjective advice only if it's your own. One should never resort to saying something is definitely better if they haven't actually seen that strength themselves. There are certain things, like lumen and contrast measurements, that can be quoted from reviews because it's something that is objective. But other aspects can be purely subjective, like sharpness, motion, and general fidelity. If you haven't seen these things in person you really shouldn't be using review site comparison quotes as your defense. Like I said, you really need to take most of those reviews with a grain of salt because they often don't have things set up properly to make fair comparisons. Brightness matching is the most important and I think, recently, turning all the post processing/sharpening crap off is also important. This right here is why you need to take those "sharpness" statements and throw them out the window. Because it's only with RC enabled will you get an appreciably sharper image like I said, but this comes as a cost. Grain, backgrounds, and faces all take on a noisier "hard" appearance. You lose some of that naturalness in the image to get the picture to look sharper. Sometimes you read what you want to read or you may not have all the information as to why someone said what they did. More often than not a review is missing information like this. Can you tell me in the reviews/comparisons you read about where the Sony's image appeared sharper than another LCoS projector, did they talk about where RC was set to and if the images were brightness matched when making these comparisons? Like the ear with louder speakers, the eye likes a brighter image more and can taint what is actually going on. It's important to brightness match and disable settings that make the comparison unfair if you're going to make definitive statements.

When I first saw the 1100ES last fall and made my comparison to the X500 it was in the same room on the same screen but it was one image right after the other. Mark's screen wasn't really large enough to do a proper A/B. Now that I've had the 1100ES here, I've been able to do my own proper A/B and yes I like the 1100ES moreso than before, but is still not as good as the JVC in a couple areas.

Contrast is very important (some argue the most important, I think a balance between a few things is more important than absolute contrast performance) and I think it's bad to downplay this on the forum when we look at the 350ES. You say you've measured 10000:1 but I've seen two well respected publications, Sound & Vision and Cine4home (who've measured a series of units that they sold) and got around 6500:1, not 10000:1. I'm not saying your measurements are incorrect, but I think it's fair to say most units aren't getting 10000:1. You may have a good sample. It's also important to note that the 600ES/1100ES got the updated optical block that the 350ES has. New 600ES units will have the same native contrast as the 350ES and the 1100ES will have more than older 1100/1000ES units. But the 600ES will also have a manual/dynamic iris on top of that. If anything don't downplay this deficiency because at the end of the day recommending this projector to someone who's expecting good contrast performance because that's what someone said on the forum is going to do more harm than good. Because it's simply not true in the context of what a $10,000 2015 projector should have and especially so when there are several sub $3000 projectors that outclass this projector in this regard. This is it's only real weakness in my opinion and it's enough enough of a difference to highlight the drawback when comparing to the current competition and even when comparing to much cheaper units. Other than that it's a stellar projector with some worthwhile valuable assets (4K panels and high brightness for instance). From what I've been told, relatively speaking, the 600ES' street price is not much more and I think would be a no brainier simply due to the addition of that highly important dynamic iris.
 

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You saw what you saw and that is fine. Many others saw quite differently. So I am not making a conclusion for others here as they have to look for various sources. Two examples - the VW350 has higher native than the earlier VW600 with iris off. It is around 10,000:1 measured my me and others. Craig had the VW1100 and WV600 in one room for two months - side by side and saw no sharpness difference between the two (600 and 350 are equal there). You claim the opposite as you now have the VW1000, so one has to wonder about how you compared.


Most reviewers have said with no doubt the 4k Sony's have the most detailed 1080p picture and they mention the latest JVCs etc. At least two review compared with x700/x500 and gave the nod to the JVC for native CR only, all else goes to Sony. I know you report what you saw faithfully but I would not assume everyone else is lying as a result. If you see one car driving against the traffic in a one way street, who would assume is doing it right? Of course everyone is free to express their own opinion and draw their conclusions anyway they want.

Actually that was me and I said on source material, I could not tell a difference. I could with test patterns.
 

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Would love to see some innovation this fall in the DLP 5k-10k range. Some good options there now, but nothing that is the full package IMO (either missing 3D, missing iris, missing something...)
Definitely. I love what a good DLP image looks like. I just need better native contrast with a good DI. Oh and the DI must work in 3D as well. There's like a handful of projectors that allow the DI to be enabled in 3D mode. None of the Sony 3D units allow this. :(
 

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Actually that was me and I said on source material, I could not tell a difference. I could with test patterns.
Thanks for correcting me Mike. That would imply no difference with source material in two months test period between the 1100 and 600, and 350 by association as the later is equal to the 600 in that department. Apparently many will have to check their eyes as obviously the x500 will have to come in between (not the case in a single shootout, published or forum member lead - until now).

The VW300 contrast has been measured to be much higher than 6500:1, ironically by the same publication mentioned above as being the source of that number:

http://www.cine4home.de/tests/projektoren/Sony_VPL-VW300/sony_vpl-vw300_test2.htm

But here is a life-line, here is a review by PJHC that measured 6333:1:

http://www.projection-homecinema.fr/2014/11/11/test-sony-vpl-vw300es-projecteur-sxrd-4k/

I do not know what motion processing mode these lower levels were measured with, some of the modes do rob the native CR by over 25%, which may have been the case. My measurement agrees with cine4home - a "trusted publication".

Even after measuring such "crappy" number, PJHC concludes:

HAVE WE LOVE:
- The precision, details
- Smoothness
- Brightness
- Fluidity
- The operation of discretion
- The contrast
- Colorimetry
- The full menus
- Spectacular 3D image
- A calibration software with tutorial

WE REGRET:
- The lack of aid to the fluidity with 4K signals UDH
- The 3D glasses not included
- The ghosting in 3D

They say they loved the contrast - are they in sane? They are perhaps as ignorant as the VW350 owners on this forum are, all of which are just trying to justify their purchase. Oh wait, the reviews that pointed to the VW350 being more detailed were also dismissed, while there is no single review stating the opposite. You get the picture...

If I have made even one person be more critical and try to gather more sources - I have been successful. Reviews can be off the mark sometimes, so can be mine or anyone else's opinion. Highly doubt what I say as well - it is not a small amount of money either way. Find the consensus by checking out multiple sources. Even people who have done proper side by side comparison may disagree - a few dislike the blacks of the 350, others have ditched a x500 for the Sony after in home side-by-side.
 

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I was going off of the first test numbers which indicate (at full brightness/zoom) ~6000:1 contrast. I didn't realize they posted another article since then. Sound and Vision also reports 6500:1 on their unit along with PJHC.

8000: 1 calibrated: 1 to 10,000. The serial interface is 8500: 1 (medium Zoom). Although these are not worlds to its big brother, so the increase does help compensate for the lack of adaptive iris to a certain extent. The associated black level is dependent on the image size and lamp mode. For Sizes 3,2m under the Eco Mode is recommended.

The obvious between the two is in differences in the absolute black level in and dark scenes are without strong contrast, here there was a slight gray haze that lays over the image. But as soon as even small bright elements come into the picture, the screen looks, thanks to the high Inbildkontrastes (checkerboard contrast 450: 1), plastic and appealing.
No offense but for a $10,000 2015 projector this is a "crappy" number. I don't see how you can justify it any other way. I wish they crippled it in some other way. Like I said, there are single chip DLPs that are better suited than the 350ES for dark scene handling. Other than that, I agree with what PJHC says. It's a solid projector if you can look past it's middling contrast performance.
 
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